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Poland in WWI


Paulina Activity: 8 / 1,362
Joined: 31 Jan 2008 ♀
 
7 Jul 2016  #31

Yes, TheOther, I've also skimmed through the article and that's how I've understood it too. But it doesn't make sense to me.

I've found only one example of a delibarate destruction of a Great War monument at Tannenberg but... it was dynamited by the Soviets in 1945. Is there more? I don't have the time to read all of this right now and the author seems to write mainly how "striking" it is that there are no monuments and that poor tourists have problems with finding stuff - I don't have the time and patience to go trough all of this right now. Is there any evidence of the Polish communist authorities deliberately destroying WWI monuments and cemeteries? Were there any orders from Polish communist authorities to censor the fact that Poles fought in partitioning armies (I've never heard of any such thing).

It looks to me like the author is making a lot of guesswork.

And the author wrote here:

Perhaps Poland, not having been an independent belligerent at the time, sees the war as a conflict waged by other powers that merely happened to have been fought largely on Polish soil.

Jon357 wrote about it and I wrote about it too.

But the author of the article is wrong here:

Reminders of World War I, regardless of the significance of the battles in a greater historical sense, might also provoke an unwelcome recollection of internal conflict.

lol
What "unwelcome recollection" and what "internal conflict"? lol The guy is clearly clueless of what is taught at history classes in Poland. It sucked that Poles were forced to fight each other, obviously, but that was the reality of that time and somehow I don't see Poles having problems with acknowledging it.

Since modern day Poland was at the time divided (between Germany, Russia, and Austro-Hungary), Poles of the Great War could potentially have ended up fighting fellow Poles.

"potentially" lol
Not only "potentially" but of course they were fighting fellow Poles! lol

Germany and Austro-Hungary were the primary Central Powers while Russia fought with France and Britain in the Triple Entente. Thus Austro-Hungarian memorials would stand in opposition to the memory of Poles fighting in Russian uniform.

Now this is just ridiculous :D The author clearly has no understanding of the fact that Poles had and still have no warm feelings for the Russian Empire, to put it mildly.

This is interesting, however:

"Furthermore, two of the three belligerents which fought on Polish soil during the Great War showed little interest in commemoration once the conflict ended. Indeed World War I was largely repudiated by postwar Russian and Austrian societies as an imperialist war foisted upon them by the upper classes. Such a wide scale rejection never occurred in the Western democracies like France and England. Thus one finds museums featuring aspects of World War I in France, Belgium, England, Slovenia, and Italy but not in Poland."

Is this true - about Russia's and Austria's attitude towards commemoration of WWI or is it author's overinterpretation and guesswork again?

TheOther Activity: 5 / 3,052
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 ♂
 
7 Jul 2016  #32

Is there any evidence of the Polish communist authorities deliberately destroying WWI monuments and cemeteries?

Somewhere I read about the deliberate destruction of German cemeteries in the "Recovered Territories" right after the war, and also that German inscriptions in churches were removed, but I never heard about the destruction of war memorials. There must be something to it though, because WW1 was a big deal for the Germans of the Weimar Republic as well as Nazi Germany, and I'm very sure that they erected thousands of memorials throughout the country. I remember seeing a ton of them in Bavaria for example, so it seems to be a legit question why you don't see them in what was once Pomeriania, Silesia and East Prussia (or even further back in time: the former provinces of West Prussia and Posen).

Indeed World War I was largely repudiated by postwar Russian and Austrian societies as an imperialist war foisted upon them by the upper classes.

In the end, WW1 was all about global domination and getting rid of competitors. The Treaty of Versailles and ultimately WW2 were the culmination of that school of thought.
Paulina Activity: 8 / 1,362
Joined: 31 Jan 2008 ♀
 
7 Jul 2016  #33

WW1 was a big deal for the Germans of the Weimar Republic as well as Nazi Germany, and I'm very sure that they erected thousands of memorials throughout the country.

Well, I'll try to check whether there's some info about it in that article when I have time then, but for now - Euro 2016 is calling with France vs Germany match (that's going to be some carnage probably lol) so history will have to wait :)
Ziemowit Activity: 7 / 2,322
Joined: 8 May 2009 ♂
 
7 Jul 2016  #34

so it seems to be a legit question why you don't see them in what was once Pomeriania, Silesia and East Prussia

You actually you do see them in Lower Silesia. I saw one of such in a village west of Bolesławiec (Bunzlau, this town itself to the south-west of Wrocław), the memorial having been renovated, but evidently an original one erected some time after the end of the WWI. That war memorial had the names of all the village inhabitants who died in that war on it and was situated just opposite of the village church. I even took some pictures of it! I did not travel extensively throughout Lower Silesia, but I remember seeing once a Polish website listing more German war memorials of Silesia.
Poleboy765 Activity: - / 66
Joined: 25 Mar 2016 ♂
 
7 Jul 2016  #35

The Poles seem to have always taken a liking to the French.
TheOther Activity: 5 / 3,052
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 ♂
 
7 Jul 2016  #36

You actually you do see them in Lower Silesia.

You are right, there seem to be a lot more WW1 war memorials left than I thought. I just came across this web site, which lists war memorials in the former "Neumark":

neumark.pl/main.php?kat=pomnikiwojenne&lang=pl

Wonder why the author of that article made such claims.
OP Atch Activity: 8 / 1,323
Joined: 1 Apr 2015 ♀
 
8 Jul 2016  #37

as often it is in your case, the answer that was born in your chauvinist, prejudiced head

Point out to me the threads where I have demonstrated prejudice against Poles. You say this occurs often. Provide examples.

you yourself called me "a lovely girl")

As I said, it was very nice of you to go to so much trouble for the poster who was looking for information. However that doesn't mean that you're universally lovely in all respects.

(your "Irish brilliance" that Ziemowit ridicules)

Ziemowit and Johnny Reb refer to British Brilliance and I have never been ridiculed by Ziemowit.

I don't understand what's "odd" about it. The memory of WWII is not only more painful but also more recent

Red Army monuments are connected to WWII Paulina. And the subsequent handing over of Poland to the Soviets is in exactly the same time frame. What I mean by odd is that many Polish people find such glorification of the Soviets deeply offensive in view of the fact that the Russians literally sat and watched the destruction of Warsaw. then marched in and proclaimed themselves the saviours of Poland and subsequently subjected your country to fifty years of repression. I personally feel pity for the individual Russian soldiers who died, most of whom weren't monsters, just ordinary men caught up in war. I do think that one simple memorial is appropriate but I do think it odd to see a plethora of monuments to Russian domination and nothing obvious to the memory of the Great War.

British families weren't affected to such an extent by the WWII as Polish families were.

That is an astonishing statement. It truly beggars belief.

the behaviour of Ireland during World War II

By that, I assume you mean neutrality. It would be going too far off topic to discuss that. Goverment policy aside, the contribution of individual Irish men and women who were all volunteers is something we can be very proud of.

Those Poles who fought during WWI were never dishonoured the way those Irish who fought against the Nazis were in Ireland.

That's because the history of Polish partition and your relations with the three countries involved were not as bitter and prolonged as that between the Irish and the British. I mentioned the thousand years of conflict and bloodshed that characterised the colonisation of Ireland which I know you can't understand. But those Irish men who fought in WWI were seen as fighting for Britain at the exact same time that other Irish men were being killed by the British forces in Ireland. And those who fought in WWII were seen as carrying on that pattern.

To give you an example of how it permeated Irish society, my maternal grandfather was already serving in the British army at the outbreak of WWI but my paternal grandfather was a member of the Irish Volunteers and active in the War of Independence. My paternal grandfather barely spoke to my maternal one so deep was the resentment on his part. His older cousins had been fighting on the streets of Dublin in 1916. And this was extremely common in Irish society. You really cannot begin to appreciate the intensity of those feelings, due to the sheer smallness of Ireland. Virtually everyone was directly involved. In Poland yes, there were patriots during partition, but nothing like the scale of personal involvement by ordinary people both men and women, that existed in Ireland. My maternal grandmother was an active member of Cumann na mBan, the womens' auxilliary corps of the Irish Volunteers. She was just an ordinary farmer's daugher but she was one of many such women, training in the use of firearms, gathering intelligence, storing arms in their homes, carrying dispatches. Unless you've visited Ireland and seen for yourself the smallness of it and the impossiblity of living immune from the politics of the time, you can't understand how powerful those emotions were.

you're complaining about graves of people who died a century ago?

And by that logic, it will soon be time to forget the dead of WWII. It ended seventy years ago.

I've also skimmed through the article

Take the time to read it properly before commenting.

I don't see what WWI has to do with de-Germanization. It doesn't make sense to me, tbh.

The three battlefields referred to in the article (which are noted because they were the site of significant WWI engagements) involved the German and Austrian forces. It's postWWI de-Germanization the author refers to. And it's just a theory. The main point of the article is that as a casual observer, an outsider visiting Poland, there is nothing prominently displayed at any of those sites to suggest that they were the site of significant WWI battles.

And look at the length of my post - that IS patience on my behalf, trust me lol

No, that's anger.

neumark.pl/main.php?kat=pomnikiwojenne&lang=pl

Great link thanks Othery. I've sent it to Prof Walton, the author of the article.

a plethora of monuments to Russian domination

Just to pick up that point again. I know quite well that they're there because of Communism but my point is that subsequent governments have left them in place and are still humming and hawing about what to do with them.

Another very interesting article for those willing to take time to read it:

encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/commemoration_cult_of_the_fallen_east_central_europe

It's co-authored by Piotr Szlanta who is a professor of history at the University of Warsaw. The article concludes that:
'During communist rule and domination,the commemoration of the First World War was intentionally marginalised or blurred in public consciousness'.

However I'm not sure that I agree with the final summing up that:

'After the fall of the communist bloc and Soviet Union, the commemoration of the First War regained its place in the public memory and the state's historic policy, becoming an important part of the national identity'

Not for Paulina. Another example of the way in which Communism continues to reach out its tentacles into Polish society almost a generation after its demise.
Trevek Activity: 28 / 1,708
Joined: 21 May 2008 ♂
 
11 Jul 2016  #38

Just chucking in an example of the chaos of WW1... Bronisław Malinowski, the famous anthropologist, was doing research in the Antipodes, accompanied by his friend Witkacy, when the war broke out. Both were Polish but as Witkacy was a Russian citizen he was considered safe. Malinowski was born in Austrian Poland and was therefore an Austrian citizen and an enemy alien. Rather than be interred, he agreed to sit out on the Trobriand Islands and do research far away from anywhere he could be a threat. The fact he had a lot of influential friends helped!

I've found only one example of a delibarate destruction of a Great War monument at Tannenberg but... it was dynamited by the Soviets in 1945.

I believe it was partly destroyed by the nazis themselves as they grabbed Hindenburg's body and scarpered. In Warmia-Mazury there are still quite a lot of intact cemeteries in varying states of upkeep. Interesting is that in Olsztyn one of the Russian cemeteries and one of the German military cemeteries were destroyed and recently renovated (possibly because the German one also had WW2 graves). However, in a different part of town the WW1 cemetery has German and Russian graves and is right next to the Red Army cemetery.

What have been destroyed are memorials in a number of towns and villages. As I mentioned earlier, the ones which seem to have survived most are those with a significant number of Polish/Warmiak names on them. Presumably the de-Germanization and the influx of people from Kresy etc meant that not only were the memorials "unnecessary" but were probably targets. In some villages there have been recent renovations of some memorials and bilingual inscriptions put on them (although I heard in one village the Germans funding the renovation were advised not to put the names back, just a dedication).




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